What is Konchalovsky’s film “Dear Comrades” about?

On November 12, 2020, Andrei Konchalovsky’s film “Dear Comrades” will be released in cinemas.

Traditionally, Russian cinema will return to the theme of the Soviet Union, raising morale and the historical “biopic”. In this article, we will talk about the plot of the film and the meaning that the picture wants to convey to the viewer.

The cinema of the great director will tell the story of a famous and tragic incident that took place in the USSR in 1962. That year, in Novocherkassk, there was a shooting of workers who went on a demonstration.

In the center of the plot is a woman named Luda. She is a communist to the marrow of her bones, fully supports the government and is a party employee of the city committee. With her own eyes, she observes the same execution in Novocherkassk at a workers’ strike. At this time, in the square where the action takes place, her little daughter is lost. Lyudmila starts searching. In addition, the Soviet authorities are trying in every possible way to hide what happened. No one in the country should know either about the execution or about the workers’ strikes. Due to many situations, Lyudmila’s worldview is changing, she is reconsidering her views on Soviet power.

While the state is trying in every possible way to hang a veil over the eyes of citizens and hide the massacres in the city, Lyudmila continues to look for her daughter. And in the background there is a blockade, censorship of information and numerous arrests of innocent people.

What this movie is about is easy to understand. He is obviously anti-Soviet. Three things point to this. The first is the director himself. Konchalovsky, even though he is the son of the author of the USSR anthem, even though he grew up at that time, at the time of the “Khrushchev” thaw, but he always considered him an ideological enemy of the Soviet Union. The country constantly expelled Andrei Sergeevich, banned his films and put them on the back burner. The director has long been sharpening his teeth on the Soviet government, so it’s clearly not worth waiting for him to praise and glorify that regime in the film.

The second is his wife, Yulia Vysotskaya, who played the main role in the film. The girl comes from the Rostov region, from the small town of Novocherkassk. Surely, she knows firsthand about that tragic story and, most likely, also does not burn with great love for advice, knowing all the subtleties and nuances of that case. Perhaps it was with her approval and ideas that Konchalovsky decided to stage such a controversial picture.

The third is the situation itself, of course. Strikes, mass executions and arrests, hunger, blockade, censorship and complete concealment of information, it is not for nothing that the data on the Novocherkassk tragedy became known to the general public only after the 90s. It is unlikely that this film in any universe can be considered a beautiful and glorifying ode to the Soviet regime.

Based on all the information presented so far, it becomes clear that cinema is exclusively anti-Soviet and political. In principle, the country has long been heading towards discrediting that era, and the incident that occurred in 1962 is a good reason and way to strengthen the position of propaganda on the opinion of the majority of liberals in relation to the communists of the past and present. And most importantly, you can’t argue with that.

The whole meaning of the film, like Koshchei’s needle, is stored in the head of an official from the city committee, Lyudmila. On its contradictions, the main idea of ​​​​the film is heard that in any, even the most socialist country, a totalitarian regime, everyone can fall under the butt of a machine gun. It would seem that only yesterday she, along with the rest of the party members, shouted: “shoot at people, at these hooligans and violators of the law.” And now she is worried that she herself or, in the end, her beloved daughter, may fall under this shelling.

Finding herself in the center of the shootings in Novocherkassk, on the same square, Lyudmila radically changes her perception of the world. After all, now that the life of her child is at stake, she cannot also calmly continue the policy of censorship of information and political lawlessness, along with the rest, even if they give her a subscription not to disclose the secret information of the sad incident.

And Lyudmila can be understood. All her life she lived in the feeling that nothing would happen to her. She is in power, eats well, lives in abundance, and there were always enough coupons for all kinds of benefits, even in excess. But Konchalovsky, throwing the heroine into the center of a blazing madness, gives her the opportunity to rethink her life, her views and her general attitude towards the country for which she once fought with her hat on.

This is a very good move, which primarily works for the viewer. It seems to me that the film is trying to show the truth, at least as it is seen by the creators, the audience of this work and, if possible, open their eyes. After all, there are a huge number of fans who support Soviet power to this day and are trying to return it to the country. This movie, taking as a basis a terrible event from the beginning of Khrushchev’s reign, tries to convince them in the same way, throwing it into the center of events, like the main character Lyudmila.

In addition, director Andrei Konchalovsky seeks to show another important idea, which is that time passes, and the methods and dictatorship of power do not change, regardless of the current regime. Always and at all times, the state raised its hand against ordinary citizens, limited their rights and thought only of itself. And what time is outside the window, Russia, the Russian Empire or the USSR does not matter.

In the end, as Lyudmila’s father said, when he took out an officer’s cap and an icon, hinting that totalitarianism always lives in the Russian people, and we do not expel it: There is no God on the Don. And perhaps never again. For some reason, he was always not allowed through the customs of the Iron Curtain.

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